Monday, April 26, 2010

It's a card knock life for me OR These rewards are not that rewarding

As you read this I am honeymooning in culturally rich and relatively inexpensive New Mexico, but don’t worry. I wrote this post a few days before my wedding and set it up so the Blogger robots would post it at the regular time, so don’t think I’m blogging on my honeymoon. I think that would annoy my wife. (Yikes! I have a wife!)

Anyway, what I want to say this week is that “rewards” cards are OUT OF CONTROL. Everyone has a stupid card! Music stores, bookstores, oil change places, auto parts stores, clothing stores, replacement hip stores, black market baby sellers. It must be The Next Big Thing in business.

They say, “All you have to do is carry this card around and let us spam your e-mail. After you buy 37 of these and 92 of these you get a coupon for a free keychain with purchase. After you spend $750 dollars you get $5 off your next purchase.”

I get especially frustrated when it's places I rarely go that are trying to get me on their program. When I bought my suit from the suit store the people there wanted me to get rewards card from them. Honestly, I don’t buy suits that often, guys. This is the last suit I’m going to buy in, well, forever. OK, maybe not forever, but in the foreseeable future I will not be purchasing a suit or suit accessories. The next time will be when someone dies and I need to go to the funeral, or when I die and need a suit to be buried in, but I imagine someone else will be buying that suit for me.

(this picture is terrifying, and it's credit cards, but you get the idea)

If I seriously signed up for every rewards program that was offered to me I would be carrying around about 20 pounds of plastic cards, but when I’ve declined to sign up some of the sales clerks have gotten very sad and others have gotten angry. What I really can’t stand, though, is sales clerk reward card skulduggery, where they try to trick me into signing up.

“What’s your e-mail address?” they’ll say nonchalanty in the process of ringing me up.

“It’s ‘Supercool82’ at… wait, why are you asking?” I say.

“I’m just signing you up for our rewards program.”

“Did you ask me if I wanted to sign up?”

“No. Everyone is doing it. Don’t you want to?”


“OK. So what’s your e-mail address?”

I feel like a 28-year-old crotchety old man. I just don’t want to carry around a million plastic cards and get spam e-mails, is that too much to ask? I give you some money, you give me some goods or services. That’s all I need from you. Let’s keep cards and sucky, useless “rewards” out of this.

Now if they had a Panda Express rewards card I’d be all over it. I'd be getting rewards left and right. I’m sure they’ll jump on the bandwagon eventually, but unfortunately they don’t have a rewards program at the moment.

Right now the only reward I get for eating there all the time is increased cholesterol.

Has anyone else had problems with rewards cards?

Monday, April 19, 2010

In defense of Bridezilla

This is my 101st consecutive blog and it is about weddings, specifically mine, which happens this Friday. It’s ironic because my very first blog ever was about weddings, and here I am getting married.

My fiancée and I discussed it and she knew when I asked her to marry me that our engagement came with a built-in exit clause, meaning that I reserved the right to call it off if she went crazy, and she had a right to call it off if I went crazy. I put that in there because I’ve seen many a sane woman go absolutely mad with power because someone was stupid enough to buy her a diamond.

When we were buying the ring our diamond salesman was showing her different rings and going on and on about cut, color, clarity and a great many other things that were way over my head. My wallet and I were bracing for impact but my fiancée said, “Do you have something smaller and simpler?” With great pride and relief I thought, “I have asked a good woman to marry me.”

My fiancée has had the diamond for many months now and has yet to turn crazy, so I am pretty happy. Everyone kept warning me that she was going to turn into Bridezilla, and I was so busy keeping an eye on her that I was totally taken by surprise when our parents turned into marital terrorists who wanted to hijack the wedding.

“We demand such-and-such!” they said.

“But it’s OUR wedding!” we said, stupid and naive.

“But we’re paying for it,” they said.


My cousin recently got married and afterwards she made the following observation. When a couple gets married their parents swoop in and take over everything. Robbed of “their” wedding, the married couple nurses their indignation for years until their own children get married. Then they swoop in, take over the wedding and put on the wedding their own parents prevented them from having, whether their children want it or not. Thus the cycle repeats forever and ever and you don’t actually get the wedding you want until you force it on your children.

On the whole it hasn’t been too bad. Our parents are only moderately crazy and I know other couples who have had it way worse. What’s really bothering me these days is that obnoxious people keep asking us about babies, like, “When are you going to start a family? How many kids are you planning on having?”

Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! Slow down! We aren’t even married yet and those are very personal questions! You don’t see me prying into your reproductive agenda, do you? What a terrible thing to ask a couple! Perhaps one of us is out of order and we can’t have kids, or perhaps we aren’t yet masochistic enough to subject ourselves to parental servitude. Either way, it’s no business of yours.

You are, however, welcome to come to our wedding reception and give us presents. Waffle irons are nice, and we’ll give you some cake for your trouble.

Monday, April 12, 2010

A window of cadaveric opportunity OR I love the smell of formaldehyde in the morning

Last week I was at work and a crackly voice came on the intercom and said, “There is, um, a sniper with a high powered rifle in the area. There have been some shots fired and law enforcement has cautioned us not to leave the building and to stay away from the windows and exits.”

When the announcement was made I was sitting in a less-than-interesting meeting and the guy leading the meeting went straight to a window, pressed his face to the glass and said, “A sniper? Where?”

As I’ve mentioned, the meeting was really boring and I had already been daydreaming. When this fool went to the window I started to daydream about the sniper firing through the window and shooting him.

I didn’t want him to get killed or anything. I just wanted the sniper to get him in the arm or the leg or graze his earlobe or something because that would make for the coolest story ever. People would gather from all around because the story of my day would top everyone else’s and I would be Story King for a day.

Don’t think I’m a bad person. First, this guy was asking for it. Second, my job is oftentimes very boring and if someone has to get hurt to liven things up, so be it. It’s a worthy sacrifice.

We all went in the conference room and they told us that the police were evacuating us out the back way and we got to go home two and a half hours early! Hooray for snipers!

After the police caught him and no one was hurt, The Sniper kind of became an office hero. In the days that followed my co-workers and I found ourselves missing the guy. In staff meetings you could hear people wishing Sniper would come back, and right before a deadline you could hear people praying for snipers.

Since no one was hurt I had a much less exciting story to tell, but that didn’t stop me from telling it to anyone who would listen. After he heard it one guy said, “Yeah, well you should be glad you didn’t get shot.”

I guess it never occurred to me that I could’ve been shot, and this new thought took a little of the wind out of my Sniper sails. How would I have told my cool story then?

Soon I was in another boring meeting, daydreaming about what I would want done with my remains if I had died. Burial? Cremation? Neither of those final resting places had quite enough style for me and I decided that I would like to donate my body to science and become a cadaver, one of the preserved bodies that med students have to look at and dissect. It would be kind of cool to be immortalized in formaldehyde and spend my dead days smelling weird and weeding out students with stomachs too weak to practice medicine.

Then I researched cadavers and learned that if you want to donate your body to medical science
you need to be very specific about which branch. Some cadavers get used in “body farms,” places where scientists sprinkle dead bodies over a few open acres of land and study how they rot. I don’t think I would like to be that kind of cadaver, but on second thought, I would be dead and when you're dead you can't be too picky about your accommodations.

I guess a body farm is as good a place to cadaver as any.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Feel the sting of my jelly bean black licorice whip OR A feminist critique of Easter Monday

Merry Easter Monday everyone! That's right, in some places the Easter celebration carries over from Sunday into Monday and in reality Easter Monday just might be the best part of Easter.

I'd like to say that although I've been doing a lot of holiday-themed blogs (I can't wait for the Arbor Day blog to drop) I feel justified in doing another one because:
1. I discovered Easter Monday and it is rad.
2. I couldn't think of any other blog topics.

I already liked Easter to begin with, before I even found out about Easter Monday. Any holiday that is closely associated with candy is alright with me, and Easter ranks pretty high on the holiday candy scale. Halloween is number one (thus it is my favorite holiday), and Easter is a close second. My favorite Easter candy is a Cadbury Cream Egg, but I can only eat one. If I eat more than one I always regret it because I never fail to get some kind of cream overdose and end up wishing the Easter Bunny had never darkened my door.

I kind of have a thing for weird holidays, and it turns out that Easter Monday derives from a religious celebration with feasts and eggs blah blah blah. Boring. The interesting part of Easter Monday is that historically it is also known as “Dyngus Day” or “Wet Monday.” Traditionally in Poland, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic the boys would wake up the girls early in the morning by pouring buckets of water over their heads and whipping them on the legs with long thin twigs or willow switches.

Why? Like a lot of traditions, the original pure intent of soaking someone and whipping them has become lost in time. Some say it derives from pagan rituals and others from Christian ceremonies. At one time it was also related to courtship, and only young, marriageable girls got doused and whipped. That's cute. Perhaps as Wet Monday approached young men would talk to the girls they liked and say things like, “Hey baby, I've got a switch with your name on it.” And then after Wet Monday was over the girls would gather and brag about who whipped them.

If you didn't get lashed it meant you were unattractive, so basically on Wet Monday a woman got whipped or humiliated by being branded undesirable, which makes it sound like a lose-lose holiday for women.

Luckily, modern observances of Wet Monday have eschewed the practice of whipping women and are now mostly just giant, awesome post-Easter waterfights. All in all, Wet Monday is way cooler than Good Friday, Black Friday and Sunday Bloody Sunday put together. Unfortunately, there are no Wet Monday celebrations in my area so I think I will just eat jelly beans.

By the way, did you know that black jellybeans repel women? My fiancee hates them (which I think is a little racist) and she wouldn't come within 20 feet of me when I was eating some. She said I had licorice-flavored black bean breath. I told her that it could've been much worse. I could've been trying to pour water on her and whip her.

Some people just don't realize how good they have it.